Embrace nature

World Environment Day

Embrace nature
From the missing trees and depleting green cover to the garbage and pollution, the environment continues to be a cause of concern for all. With yet another ‘World Environment Day’ here, nature enthusiasts talk about what needs to be done to reconnect with nature.

This year’s theme — ‘Connecting People to Nature’ — encourages citizens to step outdoors and appreciate nature’s beauty and importance. Nikita R, a student of St Joseph’s College, says that the theme aims to take forward the need to protect the earth. “It encourages one to think about how intimately we depend on nature. Be it for the shade on the streets or the water that we drink, we take our trees and lakes for granted,” she says.

To involve the youth in nature-based activities is the best step ahead. “My friends and I intend to create interesting campaigns with games to trigger interest among people. Apart from planting trees, people should also be advised on how to sustain them,” she adds.

From neighbourhood cleanups to elaborate campaigns, more needs to be done, feels Saif Ali, a student of Indo Asian Academy. “It’s best to start from home. Keep a close watch on waste segregation by holding interesting talks for children in your own area. Proper waste management will stop burning of garbage too,” he says.

More tree and nature-based festivals should be introduced, says Meghana Srivathsa, a member of ‘Neralu’. “Often young professionals take part in our walks and talks. When they are told about nailing of trees, they make simple suggestions like how thread can be used instead of harming the bark. These simple things can make big changes,” she expresses. “In schools, music, art and storytelling competitions on nature should be conducted, which will trigger a change in the mindset of children and their parents,” she adds.

The best way to involve more people is by hosting tree and nature walks, says A Ajit, a nature lover. While holding tree walks, Ajit not only talks about the trees but also the birds, butterflies and organisms that are inter-connected with them. “One needs to understand the symbiotic relationship between organisms and trees. Many walk past trees and do not notice them. It’s only when something is noticed that it can be protected. This fascination can be created through walks or even photography, which helps people see details,” he says.

More citizen science portals like ‘ebird.org’, ‘ífoundbutterflies.org’ and ‘indiabiodiversity.org’, which encourage interactions and awareness among people, should be popularised, adds Ajit.

The loss of environment, which includes lakes, trees and clean air, should be the focus now, says Harini Nagendra, a professor of sustainability with Aziz Premji University. “We need to host regular community activities in green spaces. Activities like planting a garden which encourages one to learn about pollination should be introduced in schools too,”she says.

Localities like Jayanagar and Koramangala have a lot of native trees and this concept needs to spread across the city, she says. “Earlier the municipality authorities did surveys about which trees residents wanted to see around. It would be taken care of by the residents itself. Such people-engrossing activities should be a mandate. When you water a tree or help in cleaning up a lake, you won’t let anyone harm it. This is the kind of connect we need,” she says.
 

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